Pitts Picking It Up

Montae Pitts is making progress at his new position.

Auburn, Ala.--After getting burned early and often making the adjustment to a new position this spring, Montae Pitts is showing signs of catching on at cornerback.

The six-foot-one, 190-pounder from Loachapoka is currently running second team behind returning starter Carlos Rogers. Although he was far from perfect, he made several athletic plays in Auburn's A-Day game that show he has promise as a defender.

"I was pretty focused thinking about my game plan," Pitts says of his approach to the spring finale. "I was thinking about my technique, thinking about what I could do best to help the defense."

Gene Chizik, Auburn's defensive coordinator, says the former wide receiver stepped up as the spring progressed. "I think Montae is making a lot of strides," Chizik says. "The physicalness of the game--he is really trying to get better at that. He got a lot of lessons learned. Of course, at corner the lessons you learn are the ones that everybody sees. The first scrimmage you saw that real quick. He got beat deep on a couple of balls. He is learning. He is going to play here. It is just a matter of how much and how fast. He came on and showed some things near the end of spring that I was happy to see."

Pitts made one of the most impressive plays of the A-Day game as he saved a touchdown on a long pass by Jason Campbell. "I kind of disguised it, letting it look like he was open," Pitts says. "I was on his other shoulder. As soon as he threw it I undercut him. I barely got my hand on it because it was a perfect pass."

Montae Pitts is shown during the A-Day game.

Pitts says that he had to be extra careful to keep his footing with several first half rain showers making the grass slick. "I had to watch on planting on the field because it was wet," he says.

"It felt great to be back out there," he says of being in a game situation. "I am still trying to get back in the mood. I am going to work hard this summer so I will be focused for two-a-days. I am going to be in the weight room, watching film of myself and others. I am going to try to be the best player I can be to help this team. I plan to put on about 10 pounds this summer. I need to be in shape with USC the first game. It will be hot and they will be throwing it a lot with the West Coast offense."

Pitts, who was primarily a quarterback his senior year in high school, signed with the Tigers in February 2002. He went through most of the 2002 season as a wide receiver before making the move to cornerback. "I'm feeling more comfortable after playing about everything in high school," he says after having his first extensive practice time at cornerback. "I think you see more of my athleticism (at corner)."

Chizik says that Pitts has the physical tools to be a success. "He needs to work on tackling and technique things," the defensive coordinator says.

"He has good height for a corner. He has got a tendency to play high. As a corner that is the whole thing--being able to control your body. He has gotten better at that. You have got to remember now, a guy like that played at a smaller school. He has been a receiver. This transition to defense is a whole new world for him. As the spring went on every week he learned a new lesson and did pretty well."



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